Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Net Neutrality Hits a Nerve, Eliciting Intense Reactions

Since the implication of Congress’s net neutrality bill in 2015 by the Obama administration, the debate on whether the internet should remain a free and open resource to all, while providing equal opportunity to any Internet service provider, has been an incredibly controversial topic. Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and former Verizon Wireless Communications Attorney appointed under the Trump administration, introduced the details of the ban-on-net-neutrality bill to the public and, consequently, received a monumental amount of hate. Pai along with 2 other republicans and 2 democrats are set to vote on the ban on December 14 and given Pai’s own stance on net neutrality it is almost unlikely it will fail to pass. That is not to say, of course, that millions of Americans on major social media sites such as Twitter and Reddit have not flooded the F.C.C’s and Ajit Pai’s own pages in efforts to stop this plan’s full green light. The F.C.C’s new plan will undoubtedly cause the mass slowing of internet speeds and services to websites and companies unwilling to pay the major ISP for access to certain areas of the free internet. This price will be reflected on to consumers and compacted into small monthly purchase fees such as a social media bundle or a messaging bundle. Families with lower incomes will now have to pick and choose which parts of the internet they find necessary and are forced out of viewing or communicating with the rest of the paying customers.
I believe, if it was not already inferred, that this new ban on net neutrality will not only open the internet to Service Providers like Comcast and AT&T to force-fee consumers into collective internet brackets, but also restrict the viewing of websites and media outlets that report on conflicting interests and, overall, limit the freedom that comes with access to the internet. The internet is not simply a luxury for the wealthy to privately indulge on, it was creating for the people to use as an educational and informative resource to proceed into the modern age. Not including the countless numbers of jobs that rely exclusively on the equality of internet usage. What is your opinion on the level of access to the internet? Is it something that should be governmentally regulated as it is currently or is an open market where ISP’s can run unencumbered a progressive and beneficial concept? Is it fair for political representatives such as Pai to be trashed by social medias? And how much say should the public of the United States have when it comes to their internet access? Article Link


North Korea launches intercontinental ballistic missile

On November 28, 2017, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile from Sain Ni, North Korea. However, it is not fired towards us since the missile traveled for 1,000 kilometers and dropped into the Sea of Japan. As a result of North Korea firing a missile, South Korea also fired a missile east into the east coast of South Korea, demonstrating to North Korea that they are capable of hitting their mobile missile launchers. This ballistic missile test confuses America because North Korea has not tested a missile since September firing 22 missiles. North Korea also hinted in September that they would carry out a atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific Ocean, this gives America to believe that they could put out warheads on a missile sometime around 2018 firing towards America. Pyongyang (North Korea) also demonstrated 2 missiles with intercontinental range in July even more advanced then the existing ICBM. I believe that North Korea is starting to demonstrate their power and soon will launch missiles at America. I think that America should start setting up counter measures against them after seeing the multiple missile tests that North Korea has done. What do you believe should be done to demonstrate that the US is ready for any missile attacks?

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Poor Americans would lose billions under Senate GOP tax bill

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Through myriads of congressional discussion and progress, the GOP tax bill will finally, and soon be voted in Congress. Alongside the supposed tax benefits to all brackets, what the public ceases to know are the long term results, and the healthcare aspect. The newest aspect of the tax bill includes the repeal of Obamacare's individual mandate. This concept in Obamacare entails Americans to either get health insurance or pay a penalty. So although the bill doesn't technically repeal Obamacare, it is taking a way a core factor to the success of Obama's national healthcare plan. Ultimately, in the new tax reform, those who do not want to pay for healthcare are not required to pay a penalty anymore. The American public also needs to realize the tax relief plan is temporary for the middle class, yet permanent for the wealthy businesses. 

In my opinion, this is a facade to a "Trump-ed up Trickle Down plan," once explained by Hillary Clinton during the first presidential debate. The trickle down economic premise will not provide to middle nor lower classes, which in fact, ultimately benefits shareholders and wealthy businesses. In order to help the economy grow, Congress needs to ensure that investments will produce jobs. As stated through CNN, business owners themselves have admitted to feeling no desire in spending their saved money from the tax relief on factories or new jobs etc. After all, the tax relief on the middle class expires in 2025, yet remains for the rich. In response to the healthcare aspect, it is Trump's way of disguising the repeal of Obamacare, for individual mandate is crucial to the entire act. Without it, premiums will rise, young and healthy people will feel no need to have healthcare, and the healthcare for those in need will become less and less affordable. Healthcare should not just be a luxury to the rich; it is a necessity for all.

What effect will tax reform have on the lower class? What effect will it have on those without provided healthcare? Does this plan only benefit the upper  class? Will Obamacare remain successful? Is this a form of supply side economics? Will this change the views of part of the working class that once supported Trump? Why has the upper class remained significantly wealthier than the majority of the American people through history?

Monday, November 27, 2017

Trump Again Derides Warren as ‘Pocahontas,’ This Time at Event Honoring Navajo Veteran

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On Monday, November 27, at a White House ceremony meant to honor Navajo veterans of World War II, President Donald Trump referred to senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren, as "Pocahontas". However, this instance is not the first time President Trump called Warren the derogatory name. In the senate race for Massachusetts in 2012, Warren, a former Harvard Law School, University of Texas, and University of Pennsylvania professor who claims to be of Native American descent, came under fire during a race against former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, resulting in Trump's first reference to Warren by the name. Trump's allusion to Warren's claims mirror those of the United States in regards to Native Americans during the decades of Indian removal, forced assimilation, and reservations where many viewed Native Americans as one large generalized group. While this isn't the first instance of Trump's offensive comments, it is something that I believe calls for an official apology and the planning of another event to honor the Navajo veterans, whose accomplishments in WWII were overshadowed by a single racial slur. What other actions can be done to remedy the effects of Trump's words? Did Warren's previous actions solicit Trump's words? What can be done to better inform the population about Native American history?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Congress Returns to Intense Pressure to End Secrecy Over Sex Harassment

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Sexual assault allegations have finally hit Congress. Both Alabama Republican Roy Moore and Sen. Al Franken have been accused of assault, and one may question whether or not these charges will be the last. The main issue is, according to the New York Times, that a 1995 law states that sexual assault complaints are "handled confidentially." Members of both parties are now demanding for Congress to "unmask" those who had paid settlements with taxpayer money. According to Jackie Spier, "it was a system set up in 1995 to protect the harasser." She, and other lawmakers, are pushing for a legislation that requires such claims to be handled in public. However, some debate over whether or not lawmakers who have paid past settlements should be identified. If so, the identify of past victims will be revealed, destroying their privacy.

I believe that no matter what, Capitol Hill's secrecy over harassment should stop. Highlighting and investigating people such as Roy Moore and Al Franken who has been accused of such indecent acts should be the norm. Victims should not be held to confidentiality agreements just because these people in power fear for their reputation and position. However, I question whether or not it's fair to victims of sexual harassment, to have the requirement for allegations to be public information. 

In passing a legislation that requires claims to be handled in public, is this harmful to victims who don't want to be in the public eye? How should this be handled to both protect the victim and have transparency for the accused?

Monday, November 20, 2017

25 Muslim Uighur Inmates Escape From Thai Jail


25 inmates of Muslim descent escaped from Thai Prison. The 20 (5 were later caught) inmates were among a group of 200 Uighur that escaped from Xinjiang, China. All inmates left their home alleging China of oppressing them, in which China denies. However, China labels the Uighur people as illegal immigrants. China believes that terrorism runs rampant in the Uighur race. Over the years, many have tried to escape and join terrorist organizations in Turkey and Afghanistan. The escaped inmates escaped through digging through the walls with tiles, using the heavy rain to hide the noise. All escapees held no passport or identification papers. Both Turkey and China claim the escapees as citizens of their respective country.

I believe that the Thai authority should be the ones to blame for this. Since the 200 inmates were detained since 2014, it has been 3 years and still the Thai government has not yet made a decision on deporting them back to China, where they may or may not be executed or jailed, or granting them asylum and allowing them to become Thai citizens. However, if they are indeed oppressed by the ethnic Han/Chinese, their pleas for asylum should be granted. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Border Patrol Agent Killed In Texas In What A Senator Calls An Attack

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Two border patrol agents were reportedly attacked on Saturday, November 18th, while on patrol in Southwest Texas. While reporting to activity near the US-Mexico border, the partner of the agent who was killed said that they were both injured. However, they did not specify what happened or who was responsible. Officials will not release any details of this event. The agents were patrolling near interstate 10. Senator of Texas, Ted Cruz, believes that this was an attack. The FBI believe that they will release more information on Monday regarding this case. After the incident, Border Patrol searched for any possible witnesses or suspects. On Sunday morning, Rogelio Martinez passed away in the hospital due to his injuries. President Trump tweeted, "We will seek out and bring justice to those responsible. We will, and must build The Wall." Do you think that Donald Trump has good reasons on building The Wall? 

In my opinion, I strongly DISAGREE with the claim that the United States should build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Our country consists of many different people including a lot of immigrants. America is called the "Land Of Opportunity" because we want to give others a chance if they don't have that in their country. However, this wall will take away people's ability to enter the US and take away their opportunities. Many people come to the US for education and work but this wall will take away these chances. Yes, two border patrol agents were assaulted but we still have no details on what actually happened. I do not believe this because their are so many more issues we need to worry about. Issues such as hurricane relief, Puerto Rico, solving issues with North Korea, and many more. Do you believe in Trump's claims about building a wall? Do you think that building a wall will help America? Do you think that it is right to take away people's ability to come into America from Mexico?

Trump's elephant trophy reversal comes as a surprise to administration employees, interest groups

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On Friday night, Trump announced the reversal of his decision to lift the ban on the importation of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia. He put the decision on hold amidst severe backlash and claimed he wants to review conservation facts. Today, he tweeted that his decision would be announced next week and he hinted that the ban would stay in place, as he called the poaching of elephants a "horror show." I find it interesting that he initially called for the ban to be lifted, but only days later he is referring to the poaching of elephants with such negatively charged language. In my opinion, this indicates that he is pressured into certain decisions, especially since he announced the ban would be lifted before he did any research. Do you think his initial lifting of the ban has anything to do with the fact that his sons are big-game trophy hunters?

I don't think the ban should be lifted because elephants are listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. While regulated hunting can help conservation efforts, allowing the issuing of permits to import trophies into the United States will encourage the hunting of these animals and could potentially change their status from "threatened" to "endangered." Should the ban on the importation of elephant trophies be lifted? 

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Ousted By Own Party, Refuses To Step Down

ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe's governing party recently voted to bring an end President Robert Mugabe's 37 years of tyrannical rule. However, in an address on state television, rather than resigning, Mugabe stated that he will oversee a congress meeting in a few weeks, clearly demonstrating his desire to cling to his power and position.  This is in stark contrast to the peaceful transfer of power that George Washington ensured and has continued to be a cornerstone of US democracy. Worse yet, in my opinion the appointment of former vice president,  Emmerson Mnangagwa, to succeed Mugabe does not seem like much of a better path for Zimbabwe.  Mnangagwa, according to NPR's Ofeibea Quist Arcton's is "cut from the same cloth, the cloth that has seen Zimbabwe's economy tumble...So people shouldn't think of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who may come back and head an interim government, as being a savior for Zimbabwe - certainly not." I believe, considering how long Mugabe was able to stay in power, Mnangagwa could hold a tyrannical rule for a long time as well.

Why do you think Mugabe is refusing to step down? Do you think having Mnangagwa in power is going to positively benefit Zimbabwe's government? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

An activist, a little girl and the heartbreaking origin of 'Me too'

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Actress Alyssa Milano originally tweeted "#metoo" during mid October, but according to this CNN report, it started long ago with the story of Tarana Burke. Burke explains how a young girl was seeking her aid regarding a sexual harassment issue with her stepfather, Burke turned her away regretting that she didn't take the opportunity to say "me too." Burke goes on in her life to stand and fight for the rights of women and people of color. She had been more commonly targeting young black women when she realized "adults needed it too." She also goes on to say how "the movement has taken on a life of it's own. Milano tweets about how this origin story is "both sad and heartbreaking," Burke is glad that this background is getting more attention as it can bring even more awareness about her movement and what it stands for.

I thought it was really interesting to learn someone's personal story about why they decided to join the #metoo movement rather than only focusing on how they apply to the hashtag. Understanding why it started is an important puzzle-piece that I believe will help guide the world to understand what is going on and help to create a discussion about what we can do to make this problem less common. One of the main things I took away from this article was how this movement is being used to create a more comfortable dialogue around this issue for girls (and all people) who have gone through similar things, or how Burke states it: "On one side, it's a bold declarative statement that 'I'm not ashamed' and 'I'm not alone.' On the other side, it's a statement from survivor to survivor that says 'I see you, I hear you, I understand you and I'm here for you or I get it.'" How can someone at our status (student, teenager, etc) help to make a difference in society regarding gender equality? Why is this movement so impactful to people today, and how do you think that this will affect our views on gender equality in the long term?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Sheriff Suspended After Deputies Allegedly ‘Groped’ Students in Massive Drug Search


A Georgia sheriff by the name of Jeff Hobby (pictured above) groped students during a school drug search at Worth County High School in April, yet he suspended on November 6th by Governor Nathan Deal. On April 14, they had placed the high school on lockdown for 4 hours and forced students to stand with their legs and arms spread outward from their bodies, known as "eagle spread." The deputies groped students' breasts and genitals, as well as exposed some of their body parts. Hobby said that their searches were "legal" if a school administrator was present. Do you think Hobby had to right to search the students under the circumstances? In my opinion, Jeff Hobby did not have to right to search the students despite his social standing as a sheriff. He should be further punished than just having his job as a sheriff being taken away from him, there was no consent given to him by the underage students for the deputies to touching them in such a way. If not, do you think Hobby should receive a harsher punishment than just suspension from being a sheriff? Do you think that his social position had something to do with the punishment he received?

He has never tried a case, but Trump wants to make him judge for life

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President Trump nominated Brett Talley (pictured above) to be a federal judge for life in Alabama. Talley, who is 36 and has only practiced three years of law, hasn’t tried a case. This lack of experience puts into question whether or not he should be a judge. The president does make a good point in that the age of the judge is important in the long run, but I don’t think he should make that the reason to elect such young nominees, such as Talley. Experience is more important than age when giving such an important role to someone. Talley does claim to have “worked in all three branches of the federal government, ” and believes he is qualified to take on the task of being a judge. I, however, believe that he is not qualified to be a federal judge. I make this claim, not based off of my political views, but based off the actions of the president and the statements Talley makes (as stated previously). This position will allow him to judge cases for the next few decades, depending on how long he would serve. Talley needs more time in court to understand the title that the president wants him to take on. I’m not saying he isn’t qualified at all, I just don’t think he should be a judge with the experience he has now. But what do you think? Do you think Talley is qualified to be a federal judge? If so, why?